Ballyfitz has perfect Power profile at 8/1

PICKING the likeliest winner of tomorrow&rsquo;s Paddy Power Gold Cup is even more difficult this year with a deluge of rain forecasted to hit Gloucestershire between now and 2.35pm tomorrow.<br /><br />However, whilst many are talking of showers of biblical proportions, others have suggested that we will get no more than a solitary downpour. Either way, it is sensible to look for a runner who goes on soft ground, stays up to three miles and has proven track form and the one who stands out at 8/1 is BALLYFITZ.<br /><br />Nigel Twiston-Davies, who sent out Imperial Commander to win this race 12 months ago, issued a positive update this week and every drop of rain will be music to his ears. Ballyfitz loves the soft ground and has enough tactical speed to race up with what looks sure to be a very strong pace. There is every chance he will be sent to the front by his pilot Paddy Brennan and the pair look sure to trade short in-running on Betdaq allowing plenty of opportunity to lock in a profit.<br /><br />Irish raider Tranquil Sea has obvious chances, but his price has shortened all week and he no longer looks value. He disappointed in the Jewsons&rsquo; at the Festival and there is a worry that his jumping will be found out round here. Chapoturgeon, his conqueror that day, has climbed up the weights and also has no easy task. <br /><br />At the prices, I&rsquo;m convinced there is still some value in backing Ballyfitz and he&rsquo;ll start pretty close to favouritism on the day. The only other horse I&rsquo;ll be having a small each-way bet on is HOLD EM at 33/1 with Boylesports as he seems to be running back into form. He ran a lot better than his eventual placing suggests at Ascot last time and has run well round here on more than one occasion. <br /><br />Elsewhere, GARDE CHAMPETRE looks hard to oppose in the Cross Country Chase. Nina Carberry&rsquo;s mount may be worse off at the weights with Silver Birch, but has the benefit of a recent spin over hurdles. Yet the best bet of the day may well be the Richard Hannon trained MIRABELLA who doesn&rsquo;t look to have been too badly treated in Lingfield&rsquo;s 1.05pm. I expect Ryan Moore to ride her positively from the front and the pair will take some catching.<br /><br />The feature race on Sunday&rsquo;s Cheltenham card is the Greatwood Hurdle which will be run in bog like conditions if the forecasters are to be believed. It may be worth backing ISSAQUAH at 20/1 as she loves it soft and will start a lot shorter if conditions deteriorate. Yet, the best of the Open meeting comes in the last in the shape of LIDAR having his last run in a bumper. He looks difficult to oppose here and should take this on his way to the top over hurdles.<br /><br /><strong>POINTERS...</strong><br />MIRABELLA&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;1.05pm Lingfield (Today)<br /><strong>GARDE CHAMPETRE</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;3.00pm Cheltenham (Today)<br /><strong>BALLYFITZ&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong> &nbsp;2.35pm Cheltenham (Tomorrow)<br /><strong>HOLD EM e/w&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong> &nbsp;2.35pm Cheltenham (Tomorrow)<br /><strong>ISSAQUAH e/w&nbsp;</strong>&nbsp; &nbsp;2.20pm Cheltenham (Sunday)<br /><strong>LIDAR&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong> &nbsp;4.00pm Cheltenham (Sunday)